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Cablegate: Travel Warning Bolivia

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 098094

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PTER ASEC BL
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING BOLIVIA

1. This Travel Warning is being issued to alert U.S.
citizens to the unstable social and security situation in
Bolivia. The Department of State has authorized the
departure of non-emergency personnel and all family
members of U.S. Embassy personnel in Bolivia and suggests
all U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to Bolivia.
U.S. citizens currently in Bolivia should remain
vigilant, monitor local media, review their security
posture on a regular basis, and consider departing if the
situation allows. Travelers in vehicles should not
attempt to pass through or around roadblocks, even if
they appear unattended. U.S. citizens who encounter a
demonstration should try to depart the area as quickly as
possible.

2. Over the course of the past weeks, opposition to the
Central government's policies by five of the nine
departments (Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Chuquisaca and
Tarija) has turned increasingly violent. Hunger strikes,
marches and road blocks that were initially peaceful have
become violent as pro-government and opposition forces
attempt to consolidate or impede control of government
buildings and strategic facilities, such as the gas and
oil pipelines. To date, more than a dozen persons have
died and over 100 persons have been seriously injured.
Police and military police have lost control of the
situation in some areas and cities of those departments,
and the road blocks and other measures taken by the
opposition are making gas, diesel and other essential
items unavailable. No one can, with any degree of
confidence, predict what may happen in the near future.

3. The U.S. Embassy in La Paz continues to review its
security posture and may, from time to time, close for
routine services. U.S. consular personnel remain
available to provide emergency information and services
to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens in need of Embassy
assistance should call the Embassy's Consular Section at
(591) 2-216-8297 during working hours or 216-8500 after
hours or on weekends.

4. American citizens should monitor the U.S. Embassy web
site, http://bolivia.usembassy.gov, and stay in contact
with family and friends in the United States. Family
members and friends unable to verify the safety and
welfare of U.S. citizens in the affected area should call
1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada,
or from other areas via a regular toll line at 1-202-501-
4444. Americans residing or traveling in Bolivia are
encouraged to register and update their contact
information at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz and/or the U.S.
consular agencies in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Registration may be done online and can be done in
advance of travel. Information on registering may be
found at the Department of State's Consular Affairs web
site: https://travelregistration.state.gov. By
registering, American citizens make it easier for the
embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

5. For the latest security information U.S. citizens
living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the
Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at
http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide
Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, Country Specific
Information, and health information resources can be
found. Updated information on travel and security in
Bolivia may also be obtained from the Department of State
by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or by
calling 1-202-501-4444 outside the United States. During
regular work hours, the American Citizens Services unit
at the Embassy in La Paz may be reached at 591-2-216-
8297. The consular agencies may be reached in Santa Cruz

STATE 00098094 002 OF 002


at 591-3-351-3477 and in Cochabamba at 591-3-411-6313.

6. Minimize considered.
RICE

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